Exploring Language Effects in Crosscultural Survey Research: Does the Language of Administration Affect Answers About Politics?

Diana Zavala-Rojas


We study if the language of administration of a survey has an effect on the answers of bilingual respondents to questions measuring political dimensions. This is done in two steps. In the first we test whether the measurement instruments are equivalent for the same individual in two languages. After measurement invariance is established, we test if latent mean differences are significant across the two languages. We also test if the correlation of the same concept in two languages is equal to one or not. Results show evidence for language effects, the latent correlation is below one, although mean differences are not significant. We use data of the LISS migration panel in a within subject design, respondents answer a questionnaire twice first in Dutch and then in their (second) native language among Arabic, English, German, Papiamento and Turkish.


language effects, bilingualism, measurement equivalence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12758/mda.2017.16


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Copyright (c) 2018 Diana Zavala-Rojas

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